Inside the city’s first Oktoberfest for dogs

Inside the city’s first Oktoberfest for dogs

On Sunday afternoon, Henderson Brewing Co. in the Junction Triangle was packed with more than 100 canines for the city’s first “Dogtoberfest.” The free event was organized by Get Leashed & Company, the same team who has hosted dog-friendly dinners and “doga,” yoga for dogs. Around 300 two-legged denizens enjoyed pints of beer, cold-brew coffee topped with root beer and food truck fare, while their furry friends socialized to the beat of the Polka Dogs, had their portraits taken and snacked on Henderson’s all-natural dog biscuits made from their beer’s spent grain.



3, a Brittany spaniel from Vienna

Her owner says: “We attended Doggie Night earlier this month and we loved it. This is a nice stopping point during our four-kilometre walk. It’s rare to have a place in the city where you can take your dog and enjoy a pint at the same time. Dogtoberfest is a fun, cool thing: the dogs get to socialize, and so do my son and I.”

If your dog was a beer, what kind would it be? “An IPA, because she’s very lively.”


9, a West Highland white terrier from Cobden

Her owner says: “I wanted to bring the whole family out. We love Dogtoberfest—it’s a close-knit event that brings out the community. This is a great neighbourhood to live in for stuff like this. It was cool to see so many people show up for an event as specific as this.”

If your dog was a beer, what kind would it be? “Is there a sassy beer? She’s incredibly stubborn about sharing her toys, especially now that she has a younger brother—my son.”


1, a French bulldog from Cambridge

His owner says: “We’re always looking for activities to do with the dog. Dogtoberfest is awesome. It’s great to meet new people, and also new dogs—we often find ourselves going to the same dog park. It was nice to have a few drinks while Opie was playing.”

If your dog was a beer, what kind would it be? “Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc, because he’s French.”


2, a pug from New Tecumseth

Her owner says: “We stopped by Henderson’s last Saturday, and one of the bartenders told us about this event. Dogtoberfest is great—it gives us time to socialize, and the same goes for Bella.”

If your dog was a beer, what kind would it be? “Probably a wheat beer.”


1, a shiba inu from Sunderland

Her owner says: “We saw this event on Instagram, and thought it would be nice to support our local brewery and have a little indoor outing with Jerry. Yes, I named her after Seinfeld. We’re going to name our next dog George.”

If your dog was a beer, what kind would it be? “Sapporo, because she’s Japanese.”


7, a labrador, border collie and pointer mix from Woodstock

His owner says: “It’s always fun doing new things with him. I like places like this, where there are no health rules surrounding dogs. Oh, and beer always helps.”

If your dog was a beer, what kind would it be? “IPA, it’s my favourite beer and it’s bitter—kind of like Bradley’s personality. When we pay attention to our tuxedo cat, Mittens, Bradley will nudge him off the sofa.”


8 months, a chow chow from North York

His owner says: “We used to have a really good social life, but now we only go to places where we can bring him along. We’ve been ordering a lot from UberEATS instead of going out to restaurants. Williams Fresh Café in Harbourfront is the only restaurant in Toronto that allows dogs. We came out today, because we were excited about having a social life again.”

If your dog was a beer, what kind would it be? “Sapporo, because they’re both Asian in origin, but made in Ontario.”


2, a chug from Mississauga

Her owner says: “I thought it would be a good way to get some pictures and meet some of Harley’s friends from Instagram. She only has 4,000 followers. It was also a nice way to connect with both dog- and beer-lovers.”

If your dog was a beer, what kind would it be? “A coffee beer. Harley is a little bit of a caffeine addict—she likes to drink from my coffee.”

Benny (left) and Beauford

4, a German Shepherd-rottweiler mix from northern Quebec; and 6, a golden retriever from North Bay

Benny’s owner says: “I wish there was something like this on a monthly basis. It was great to meet other people in the dog community without being in a regular park. This was also the first time Benny and Beauford went on an outing together. They met at PetValu more than two years ago.”

If your dog was a beer, what type would it be? “[Henderson Brewing Co.’s] Food Truck. He has a limitless stomach.”

Beauford’s owner says: “We came to Dogtoberfest because it’s on Beauford’s bucket list. He was diagnosed with cancer at the end of February, and bringing him to this upbeat, energetic and positive atmosphere is the best thing I can do for him.”

If your dog was a beer, what type would it be? “[Henderson Brewing Co.’s] Food Truck. He’s a foodie who literally cannot eat dog food. For Thanksgiving dinner, he had steak, sweet potatoes and his very first puptini—that’s like a martini, made of watermelon and blueberry. That was another item on his bucket list: to have a fancy feast.”